DOJ declares New York, Portland and Seattle anarchy zones, federal funds at risk
The Department of Justice (DOJ) today declared that the cities of New York; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle, Washington intentionally permit anarchy, violence and the destruction of property and therefore “meet the criteria set out in the President’s Memorandum” that seeks to exclude federal funds from those cities.
At the beginning of the month, the president signed an executive order seeking to review federal funding for cities that refused to protect its citizens from the violent rioting and destruction that took place under the guise of racial justice protests.
“To ensure that Federal funds are neither unduly wasted nor spent in a manner that directly violates our Government’s promise to protect life, liberty, and property, it is imperative that the Federal Government review the use of Federal funds by jurisdictions that permit anarchy, violence, and destruction in America’s cities,” said the order signed September 2, 2020.
The order requires that, every 14 days, the DOJ publish a list of cities that qualified as anarchy zones. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will then make recommendations as to which federal funds can be withheld legally.
The DOJ cited a number of criteria for each city that won them inclusion on the anarchy list.
For New York City, the DOJ said that the number of violent crimes including looting, shooting and murder has skyrocketed, while the city has taken resources from policing, including a $1 billion cut to the police budget. Another factor in the decision was the city’s refusal to prosecute violent protesters and looters.
Regarding Portland, the DOJ said: “This month, Portland marked 100 consecutive nights of protests marred by vandalism, chaos, and even killing. Those bent on violence regularly started fires, threw projectiles at law enforcement officers, and destroyed property. Numerous law enforcement officers, among others, suffered injury. Shootings increased by more than 140% in June and July 2020 compared to the same period last year.”
In Seattle, federal law-enforcement authorities cited the establishment of the CHOP (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest), and local authorities’ unwillingness to put down the illegal occupation of downtown Seattle, as a major reason for inclusion on the anarchy list.
“When state and local leaders impede their own law enforcement officers and agencies from doing their jobs, it endangers innocent citizens who deserve to be protected, including those who are trying to peacefully assemble and protest,” said Attorney General William Barr in a statement. “We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance. It is my hope that the cities identified by the Department of Justice today will reverse course and become serious about performing the basic function of government and start protecting their own citizens.”
PHOTO: EPA/TANNEN MAURY
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